Puerto Pollensa situated on the northwest coast about an hour and a half’s drive from down town Palma, is not without it’s own history. The port itself was popular with artists before the tourist boom and many of the hotels in the town predate the 1960’s concrete boom with the oldest being Hotel Miramar which opened in 1912 and still manages to have a wonderful amount of old-world grace about it.
There is a 13.5 km street which runs from Port de Pollenca to Cap de Formentor and was built by the Italian engineer Antonio Paretti. At the Cap de Formentor end of this street stands a rather magnificent lighthouse.
For greater history however, it’s worth moving inland just 5 kilometers to the town of Pollenca, where much more is known of it’s history.
The name Pollenca derives from ‘Pollentia’ which was the name of the Roman town in Alcudia where the people who settled Pollensa and the surrounding area came from. Pollensa’s ‘modern’ era began in the early 5th century with the foundation of a settlement at the foot of the Calvari, however in keeping with other places in Mallorca, Pollensa can boast of a history that has seen Egyptians, Romans, Moors and Ottomans all having a part in the affairs of the town, and it stands in the same location as the much earlier city of Bocchoris which was founded by the Pharaohs.
Although the Romans held Mallorca as a part of the western empire, there is not much left in Pollensa to be seen of their time there, unlike in nearby Alcudia where remains of their occupation can be seen more easily.
Many of the town’s narrow streets have cobbled streets and are surrounded by 17th and 18th century architecture. There is also a wonderful Roman bridge that goes over a stream in the centre of the town (one of the few surviving obviously Roman pieces of architecture). The main square in town called Placa Major holds a fountain which is adorned with the image of a cockerel. The fountain is dated 1827.
There is a grand 14th century Gothic church which was built by the knights templar, called the Church of Sant Jordi which was at one time used as a hospice and which has also been used as a refuge in times of pirate raids on the area. In this small town, there is also the convent of santo domingo and it is here, in the cloisters, that Pollensa’s international music festival is held each year in July and August.
One of the most remarkable landmarks in Pollenca is the Via Crucis which is a long steep climb comprising 350-400 steps. This walkway of steps is flanked by cypress trees and is quite impressive in it’s own right. At the top stands the 13th century statue of Mare de Deu del Peu de la Creu (Mother of God at the Foot of the Cross) and many people climb the steps to see both the statue and the incredible views of the surrounding countryside and coastline.